Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Hide Birding Rules! Part 2....

Continuing on from my last post at one of the bird hides/photo blinds/feeding stations at Baihualing.... The later afternoon from the same hide produced 3 female and a male Himalayan Bluetail, a pair of Golden Bush-Robins, 2 Rufous-throated PartridgesBlue-fronted Redstart, a group of Rusty-capped Fulvettas, 4 Black-breasted Thrushes, 2 Chestnut-vented NuthatchesLarge Niltava, 4 Yellow-cheeked Tits and lots more. 

The photo opps were amazing and it’s a total privilege to see so many birds at such close range. This was another great session from the photo hide...

Himalayan Bluetail

Golden Bush-Robin (female)

Golden Bush-Robin (male)

Rufous-throated Partridge
Blue-fronted Redstart
Rusty-capped Fulvetta
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Hide Birding Rules! Part 1...

It took most of the morning to find the tricky Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler, but we scored big-time with some great views. We walked up the mountain for a few kilometres in search of this bird and Cachar Babbler but didn’t really get a sniff of this bird, however we did see Great BarbetOrange-bellied LeafbirdWhite-bellied ErpornisGrey-chinned MinivetMaroon OrioleFire-tailed Sunbird, and we had a flock of Yellow-throated Fulvettas.

In the afternoon we visited another feeding station where amongst the 37 species seen, new birds included Spot-throated BabblerLong-tailed SibiaGrey-throated BabblerRed-tailed and Blue-winged MinlaLong-tailed Thrush, a pair of Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush, 2 Maroon-backed AccentorsBlack-throated Sunbird, and also a Davison’s Leaf Warbler

Spot-throated Babbler

Blue-winged Minla

Red-tailed Minla

Long-tailed Thrush

Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush

Rusty-capped Fulvetta

Maroon-backed Accentor

Black-throated Sunbird

I will post the rest of our session from this afternoon on a separate blog post...

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Baihualing Bird Feeders Frenzy!

We left Pianma and headed back up to the pass, where we saw Himalayan BuzzardChinese Babax and Sharpe’s Rosefinch. We did scan again for Sclater's Monal but the chances of seeing this are really slim. Lower down we had a flock of Black-browed Bushtits and Mrs Gould’s Sunbird before setting out on the drive to Baihualing, seeing Nepal House MartinPied Bushchat and Indian Roller along the way.

So here we are at one of the undiscovered gems of Asia. On this mountain there are 25 active feeding stations/photo blinds enticing a veritable feast of avian gems in to feed. And there are some really cool birds that are really hard to locate in the forest. So After lunch at the hotel we headed up the hill to a hide that was just off the main track where we saw 30 species coming down to feed. 

Here’s a list of birds at this feeding station:

Rufous-throated Partridges
Flavescent Bulbul
Chestnut-headed Tesia
Sichuan Leaf Warbler
Buff-barred Warbler
Ashy-throated Warbler
Chestnut-crowned Warbler
Black-streaked Scimitar-Babbler
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler
Golden Babbler
Rusty-capped Babbler
Yunnan Fulvetta

Chestnut-headed Tesia
Black-streaked Scimitar-Babbler
Rusty-capped Fulvetta

Red-tailed Laughingthrush
Scaly Laughingthrush
Blue-winged Laughingthrush
Assam Laughingthrush
Scarlet-faced Liocichla

Red-tailed Laughingthrush

Blue-winged Laughingthrush

Scaly Laughingthrush

Assam Laughingthrush

Rusty-fronted Barwing
Red-billed Leiothrix
Black-headed Sibia
Whiskered Yuhina
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch
Large Niltava
Hill Blue Flycatcher
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
Black-breasted Thrush
White-browed Shortwing
Himalayan Bluetail
Golden Bush Robin
Blue Whistling-Thrush

Black-breasted Thrush
Himalayan Bluetail
Golden Bush Robin
Himalayan (White-browed) Shortwing

It was an amazing experience to see a really good selection of quality birds at close range and to get the opportunity to photograph them. I haven't experienced anything of the scale of this before. Bring on tomorrow.....

Friday, 25 January 2019

Myzornis Mania

Headed back up to the pass where we quickly found a few Sharpe’s Rosefinches and a Rufous-breasted Accentor. It was much better this morning and we followed this with a calling Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler tracked down in an extensive stand of bamboo. It took quite a while to get a decent view but we did and followed this up with a group of 5 Brown Parrotbills beside the road. As we watched them 3 Great Parrotbills appeared higher up the hill and flew down towards us where they fed in the bamboo right in front of us. There was also a group of Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babblers seen by Jason and Haydn, several calling Spotted Laughingthrushes and White-throated Redstart as well. 

Moving lower down the mountain things were very quiet until we came across a hillside covered in fruiting bushes where there were lots of Black-faced Laughingthrushes, as well as quite a few Assam Laughingthrushes. At least 6 Dark-rumped Rosefinches were here, along with numerous Stripe-throated and a few Whiskered Yuhinas, and Blue-throated Redstart as well. 

Black-faced Laughingthrush

But the best was yet to come as a Fire-tailed Myzornis was found on the slope below the road. Pretty quickly we had a pair performing right in front of us to the delight of everyone. What an amazing bird and such a relief to finally find this most wanted species. 

Fire-tailed Myzornis - oh yes..!!

Leaving here we saw Yellow-browed Tit, Beautiful Sibiaand Blue Whistling-Thrush.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Pianma Pass - Gaoligongshan

We were really looking forward to birding this seldom visited site and the day got off to a good start with a flock of Brown-winged Parrotbills found whilst the coach was being fixed over some mechanical problem! A flyby Wallcreeper followed before we eventually approached the pass way later in the morning than I was happy with. But a sleeping Red Panda in the bright sunshine at 3200m was absolutely fantastic and I thought things would only get better from there, but as it turned out the pass area was hard going and the birding was very slow. 

This cute red Panda was definitely 'bird of the day'.

We did find Black Eagle, a gang of Black-faced LaughingthrushesWhite-browed FulvettaWhite-winged Grosbeak and a couple of Alpine Accentors but that was it so we drove a few kilometres lower. 

Alpine Accentor

The habitat was freaking unbelievable with huge swathes of bamboo and then great moss-encrusted forest lower down but it was still slow going. 

It's certainly a fabulous setting for a bird tour.....

Leading up to our picnic lunch we saw very little apart from an Eurasian Wren and several White-browed Fulvettas

White-browed Fulvetta

But during lunch a Himalayan Griffon drifted over, Slaty-headed ParakeetGreat and Golden-throated Barbets were spotted. Then we had a real Collared Owlet teed up in the scope with Stripe-throated Yuhinas and Coal Tits mobbing it. 

We then drove lower and began walking and things picked up with more Black-faced Laughingthrushes, several Assam LaughingthrushesHimalayan CutiaCrimson-breasted WoodpeckerWhiskered YuhinaStreak-throated and Rusty-fronted BarwingsDark-rumped Rosefinch, 3 Crimson-browed Finches, and a Spotted Forktail being the highlights.